Saturday, August 20, 2005

Anti-spam measures on the blog

Lately, I've been receiving SPAM comments that I have to manually delete from the blog. To cut down on this, I've enabled the word verification setting on the blog. That means before you can post, you must type in the random set of letters that appear on the post page before your post will upload. I know it's a small hassle, but it prevents automated SPAM systems from posting ads to their sites.

It really ticks me off that we have so little protection from this type of intrusion. Don't I pay the government enough in taxes to protect MY rights? Yet, so often, private citizens are given the legal shaft.

Here's a perfect example. Recently, I discovered a term paper mill was selling 8 of my graduate research papers on its site. Though I had clearly marked these as copyright protected and asked people to email me for permission before using in any way, someone still lifted them. When I sought legal advice, I was told that I had a clear cut case of intellectual property theft. However, since I hadn't paid to have copyright protection, I was limited in what I could do. We're told that we have automatic protection for our work. Well, that protection gets us squat.

Before I can even sue these people, I have to pay to have all these works copyrighted. That's $30 a piece - $240. Then, I can only sue them for what they have earned on them, and I cannot include legal fees as part of what I'm asking. So, I have to shell out cash, I have no idea what this company has made on my essays (if anything), and then I also have to pay court and legal fees for trying to get this company to stop profiting on my work!

How is this in ANY way fair? Talk about a messed up system. I can't tell you how angry I am. Not only does this offend me as a citizen, but it offends my professional ethics. As a teacher, I constantly fight the battle against plagiarism, yet our government has enabled these vultures a fair amount of legal protection from individuals who don't have the money to shell out 30 bucks for every essay they've written. I once posted my work on my site so my students would be able to see me as a working writer. They'd be able to see what I like in an essay. Now, I have all of that, including my poems, off the site. Isn't that a shame that we cannot share our work with others without the fear of unscrupulous leeches stealing our ideas and creations?


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ABD, Associate Professor of Language Arts & Humanities at an Oklahoma 2-year college; web site designer; devoted aunt to Lauren.